Malone and Murray on song as St Joseph's reach first final
St Joseph's Miltown-Malbay (Clare) 2-11 The Nire (Waterford) 0-9
Second-half strikes by Cormac Murray and Sean Malone earned St Joseph's Miltown Malbay a spot in the Munster senior football final for the first time as they navigated The Nire and the wretched weather at Fraher Field yesterday.
"The lads were extremely focused," said manager Mike Neylon.
"After the county final, the boys were back in action on the Tuesday night. We just looked at it as a new competition and a new start."
The Nire attack was blunted by Brian Curtin who swept in front of Conor Gleeson and Shane Walsh.
They conceded 22 frees during the second half and Tom Barron was denied a penalty seven minutes from time.
"It was a stone-wall penalty in my eyes, I just can't understand how it wasn't given," said The Nire selector Justin Walsh.
With the elements in their favour, the away side kicked five unanswered points during the second quarter to establish a 0-9 to 0-5 interval advantage.
Kieran Malone, Eoin Cleary (free) and Colin Hehir had tagged on early points for Miltown Malbay but at the other end Jamie Barron, Shane Ryan (free) and Gleeson restored parity after 18 minutes.
White flags from Oisin Looney, Malone, Cormac Murray, Conor Cleary and Hehir followed though to help the Clare side establish their four-point lead at half-time.
As the rain teemed down in the second period, Shane Walsh and Dylan Guiry both closed the gap to three but that was as close as the Waterford winners got.
On 41 minutes, Murray capitalised on a slip in The Nire defence and thumped the ball to the top corner.
Jamie Barron was the leading light for the locals and his two points gave them hope, but they wouldn't score again, however.
Ten minutes from time, Sean Malone caught The Nire defence napping as he nipped in to finish to the bottom corner.
An injury-time free from Clare star Eoin Cleary, his third of the day, sealed victory.
Seven-time champions Dr Crokes are next up for Neylon's men. "They're virtually unstoppable at the moment in Munster, we know that, but we're delighted to be in with a shout."
SCORERS - St Joseph's Miltown Malbay: C Murray 1-1; S Malone 1-0; E Cleary 0-3 (3fs); C Hehir, K Malone 0-2 each; O Looney, C Cleary, E Curtin 0-1 each. The Nire: J Barron 0-3; C Gleeson 0-2 (1f); T Barron, Dylan Guiry, S Walsh, S Ryan (f) 0-1 each.
St Joseph's Miltown Malbay - S O'Brien; A McGuane, E O'Brien, E O'Gorman; J O'Connor, G Kelly, C Hehir; O Looney, C Cleary; E Cleary, B Curtin, K Malone; C Murray, D McDonagh, E Curtin. Subs: S Malone for McDonagh (48), E Reidy for O'Connor (54), Graham Kelly for E Curtin (56), M Murray for Looney (61).
The Nire - D Murphy; D Meehan, T O'Gorman, M Moore; J McGrath, T Barron, Darren Guiry; T Guiry, C Guiry; J Barron, Dylan Guiry, S Ryan; S Walsh, C Gleeson, S O'Meara. Subs: D Ryan for T Guiry (38), C Mulcahy for Meehan (46), C Walsh for O'Meara (57).
REF - P O'Sullivan (Kerry)